Difference Between Psyche and Consciousness. In some sciences, the concepts of “psyche” and “consciousness” are fundamental. Each carries its own meaning. Let’s try to uncover these terms and determine the difference between psyche and consciousness.


Psyche is a property belonging to certain living beings, especially humans and animals, reflecting reality in a special way.

Consciousness is a complex manifestation of brain activity observed at the highest level of mental development.


The basis for the existence of both qualities is nervous activity. The difference between psyche and consciousness lies in the fact that the former of the two concepts is fundamental.

Psyche exists in both humans and beings at a lower stage of development – animals. It represents a brain function and acts as a kind of tool that helps to adapt to the environment and survive. Processes occurring in the psyche can be elementary or very complex.

The combination of higher manifestations of such activity forms consciousness. Only the human brain operates at this level, not that of animals. The latter can only operate with concrete thinking, based on perceptual cognition. This is true even for “intelligent” beings like monkeys, dolphins, or dogs.

At the same time, the capabilities of human consciousness are not limited to the formation of images alone. Here, speech plays a significant role. It allows performing important abstract-logical operations and acquiring new knowledge that can be passed down through generations. Humans tend to plan and set goals. Additionally, they tend to assess their behavior and exercise self-control.

Even the mental processes themselves can be controlled to some extent by humans possessing consciousness. This occurs when, for example, we force ourselves to memorize a poem or deliberately concentrate on something. Animals with their basic psyche cannot do this. Human consciousness historically evolved and exists in conjunction with their social and labor activity.

What is the difference between psyche and consciousness? The latter, despite its complexity and multifaceted nature, is just a part of the system. Much of mental activity involves a lot of unconscious and not yet fully understood processes.